TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 65 (No. 5), pp. 453-461, 2013

Possible generation mechanisms of the Pi2 pulsations estimated from a global MHD simulation

S. Fujita1 and T. Tanaka2

1Meteorological College, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-0852, Japan
2Space Environment Research Center, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan

(Received June 18, 2012; Revised November 23, 2012; Accepted November 26, 2012; Online published June 10, 2013)

Abstract: The plasmaspheric virtual resonance (PVR) and the transient Alfvén wave bouncing between the ionospheres in both hemispheres (the transient response, TR) are regarded as the possible generation mechanisms of the Pi2 pulsations. However, the global MHD simulation of a substorm (Tanaka et al., 2010) did not reproduce such wave modes because of insufficient ionospheric reflection of the Alfvén wave, numerical transfer of the Alfvén wave across the field lines, and no plasmasphere. Furthermore, it is noted that the substorm current wedge (SCW) which is a driver of the TR is not reproduced in the global MHD simulation. In this study, we search the sources of the Pi2 pulsations in the global MHD simulation, namely, the compressional wave in the inner magnetosphere for the PVR and the Alfvén wave injected to the ionosphere for the TR. In conclusion, there appears a compressional signal in the inner magnetosphere when the high-speed Earthward flow at the substorm onset surges in the inner edge of the plasma sheet. This simulation result suggests that this compressional wave would be trapped in the plasmasphere as the PVR if the model has the plasmasphere. As for TR, the global MHD simulation provides suddenly increasing field-aligned current (the Alfvén wave) associated with sudden appearance of the shear flow which comes from the high-speed flow in the plasma sheet at the onset of the substorm. If the global MHD simulation correctly lets the Alfvén wave be reflected in the ionosphere and transmitted along the field line, the TR would be established. As the ballooning instability is regarded as one of candidates of the Pi2 pulsation sources, we also briefly investigate whether the simulated plasma sheet in the growth phase is unstable or not for the ballooning instability.
Key words: Pi2 pulsation, global MHD simulation, substorm, high-speed plasma flow.

Corresponding author E-mail: sfujita@mc-jma.go.jp

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